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Pro Cycling Challenge 2012

Melissa Kontogiannis

My family and I went to Golden this weekend to see Stage 6 of the Pro Cycling Challenge and I thought it was a great experience! The start of the race was in downtown Golden which was an amazing place to start. There were many riders, lots of spectators, and people were having fun everywhere.
Team tents lined the sides of the road even after the cyclists had left. They did two loops around Golden after starting under the town’s welcoming arch. Right after the start, the riders passed the commemorative biker statue of Levi Leipheimer, the race’s first winner. After leaving Golden, the cyclists headed towards Boulder and then to Nederland. Then they went up the Peak to Peak Highway and towards Lyons before they headed back to Boulder. They passed through Boulder and then pedaled up Flagstaff Mountain to the finish.
128 riders competed in the challenge, including Tejay Van Garderen, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, and Christian Vande Velde. Levi Leipheimer won stage 6 but he was not the champion. The champion was determined after stage 7, and it was Christian Vande Velde. Many team cars followed the riders wherever they went. The team cars carry all the racers supplies, like their extra tires, and extra bikes (incase they break one). The team manager and some mechanics also ride in the car. Some of the teams are: Garmin, BMC, Bissell, Liquigas, and Team Exergy. There were always motorcycles in front of the racers, they were there to lead the racers, take pictures, or make sure no one could get in the riders way.
There were many spectators at the race. They crowded the street corners to try to take pictures of the racers as they rode by in their bright jerseys. Some families had ridden their bikes there; and one boy was even riding a unicycle! Two men were riding bikes that looked like tricycles, but I found out they were called Big Wheels. They had one regular bike wheel in front but two smaller, thicker wheels in the back. They would ride around and then turn really fast and slide sideways. There were lots of people going out to lunch after they saw the bike race. Golden is also a great place for fruit trees; my sister and I climbed an apple tree and picked some of the apples!
I had a great time watching the Pro Cycling Challenge; seeing the racers, walking around in Golden, and seeing all of the spectators was a fun experience. When the Challenge happens again next year, you should go see it!
 

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